Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has only scored once this season in all competitions – a rasping effort in the Capital One Cup against Coventry City – so it’s perhaps unsurprising to hear that he’s annoyed with himself for not being more predatory in and around the box.
A revelation in the second half of his first full season, the Southampton Academy graduate has struggled to make the same impact this term with injuries taking their toll on his consistency and teammates skipping ahead of him in the starting line-up.
Despite his somewhat tepid impact since August, there have been promising signs in the last couple of weeks with performances against West Brom and Reading hinting at a return to form.
“I want to be getting more goals and more assists, so I’m always beating myself up when like tonight, I don’t,” he told Arsenal.com after the match at the Madejski.
“As long as the boys are winning, that’s the main thing. I’ll keep plugging away and keep trying to do the right things on and off the ball. I know it’s important [to work hard] for my full back.
“Whenever I get the chance to play, I can guarantee I’m always going to give 100 per cent and I’ll be looking to get on the scoresheet a bit more as well.
“I’m never happy with myself. I know I’ve got quite a good shot so when an opportunity comes about and I don’t make the keeper work, I’m not a happy boy. I think that’s the best way to get the best out of me. I’m always hard on myself and push myself to do more.
“I’m sure the fans are doing that to me as well, as I’m finding out. I’m just going to keep plugging away and keep working hard in games and in training.”
Chamberlain’s 16 games this season, nine as a starter and seven off the bench, represent a lower tally than any of our other first team wing options (Arshavin aside).
With a busy schedule ahead, Gervinho heading to the African Cup of Nations in January and Theo Walcott possibly off to pastures new, the Ox could well be a vital weapon in Arsene Wenger’s armoury in the coming months.
It’s a lot of responsibility to heap on young shoulders, but it’s obvious if he channels his determination correctly he could be a real star. Let’s hope he pens his new deal soon.